Category Archives: Opinion

When a bikini wax goes bad —

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — FEB 20, 2013 —

BY DARYL FISHER

NEWS-LEDGER COLUMNIST —

BY DARYL FISHER

BY DARYL FISHER

I, of course, have lots of friends (and non-friends for that matter) who think they could easily write this weekly column a whole lot better than I do, and one of the former had me laughing out loud the other day about something she said she had read on Facebook. She was absolutely convinced it would make for a fabulous column, and our conversation went a little something like this:

“It really would make a wonderful column,” she assured me. “Do you want me to forward it to you so you can see for yourself?”

“That’s alright,” I said, my computer already overflowing with stuff other people have sent me that they think is a lot funnier than I do. “But why don’t you go ahead and tell me about it.”

“Okay,” said my friend, already smiling. “This recently-divorced lady with young kids decided it was about time for her to stop moping around the house and start doing some dating. So she joined one of those social networking sites and soon had a date all lined up for a Friday night. So she gets off of work a little early, comes home, fixes dinner, plays with the kids, makes sure the babysitter is going to be there on time, and then goes into the bathroom to take a shower and get ready for her big going-out-to-the-movies date.”

“What’s funny about that?” I asked.

“Well, while taking her shower she quickly realizes that she has kind of let her body get out-of-hand, so to speak.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, parts of her body had become completely over-run with unwanted hair.”

“Oh, I see,” I said, returning her smile.

“So, she goes into her medicine cabinet and pulls out this waxing kit that she had purchased ages ago when she was still married. It’s one of those cold wax kits, you know, the kind that you just rub the strips together in your hands until you get them warmed up. Then you pull the strips apart, apply them to your legs or wherever, and the hair is supposed to come right off. It’s also supposed to be really easy to do, even if you’re not very courageous at such things. But she gets the bright idea of using her hairdryer to heat up the strips, which is when things start going downhill. Anyway, although what she really wants to do is wax her bikini line, she wisely decides to try one of the much too hot strips on her leg first. Although the added heat and pulling off the strip turned out to be pretty painful, she decided to suck it up and move on up north.”

[adrotate group=”7″]  “But why would she need to wax her bikini line if she was just going on a first date to the movies?” I asked naively.

“Trust me, women just feel better about themselves if they’re prepared for every possibility and not all covered in unwanted hair.”

“I see.”

“Anyway, she checked on the kids, made sure she had plenty of time left before the babysitter and her date were scheduled to arrive, and then hurried back into the bathroom. She took off her robe, placed one foot up on the toilet, and then bravely applied a wax strip across the right-hand side of her bikini line, covering the whole right-half of her hoo-ha. Then she inhaled deeply, held her breath, and ripped it off.”

“Then what happened?” I asked with interest.

“She went blind.”

“Blind?”

“Blind with pain! She didn’t scream, though, not wanting to frighten her children. But once her vision returned, she realized she had only pulled off half the strip, so she had to woman-up again and rip the other half off. Thinking she might pass out, but knowing that she was only half-done with getting her bikini line just the way she wanted it, she reluctantly decided to apply another strip to cover the left side of her bikini line. But in the process her foot accidentally slipped off the toilet and she ended up with the new wax strip covering up most of her butt and nether regions. Then….”

“Wait a minute!” I interrupted my friend, obviously eager to finish her tale, “I can’t possibly make a column out of what you’ve been telling me!”

“Why not?”

“Because the News-Ledger is a family newspaper and I can’t be talking about bikini lines and hoo-has and a woman’s nether regions! Our crack editor would quickly spot how inappropriate that is and I will be in big trouble.”

“But I thought you told me he never reads your stuff anymore.”

“Well, he doesn’t, but I’m sure the headline to any story like that would quickly catch his attention.”

“But if you just let me tell you the end of this story I’m sure you can make it into one of the funniest columns you have ever written! Believe it or else, she ends up taking a hot bath trying to get that wax strip off only to have her butt cemented to the bottom of her porcelain tub. Thankfully her cell phone was nearby and she was able to call a friend who told her there should be some lotion in the wax kit box for just such emergencies.”

“You mean stuff like that happens to women all the time?”

“Oh, Daryl, if you only knew what we women have to do to try and please our men!”

“Well,” I said, “it is a cute story, although I’m surprised that anyone would want to put it up on their Facebook page, and I do appreciate you taking the time to tell it to me.”

“But like I said,” I added, “I’m afraid it’s just not something I can put in my column. I do have my standards, you know!”

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Copyright News-Ledger 2013

EDITORIAL: choices for school board

FRANCISCO CASTILLO: works for StudentsFirst (News-Ledger Photo)

FRANCISCO CASTILLO: works for StudentsFirst (News-Ledger Photo)

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — FEB 27, 2013 —

NEWS-LEDGER EDITORIAL:

West Sacramento voters this week will take a look at a slate of five contenders, and choose one to fill a vacancy on the local school board.

There are some people in the community who wish to vilify one candidate or another. The current love/hate litmus test is the question of which candidate has the backing of the city’s activist mayor, Christopher Cabaldon. But you know what? These five are all good people, and any one of them would do at least a decent job on the school board.

It has been hard, however,  to find a way to judge their individual potential as school district trustees using their respective records in public service. Instead, we have to look mostly at their professional resumes and at their public remarks to try to determine how well each understands a board member’s role and how effective he or she would be on the “board of directors” of the local school district. The school board member’s job is, above all, as a manager: chief duties include hiring and managing a superintendent, making budget choices and creating an effective corporate structure, as well as setting strategic policy.

LINH NGUYEN: Background in Silicon Valley & Business (News-Ledger photo)

LINH NGUYEN: Background in Silicon Valley & Business (News-Ledger photo)

From the current group of five candidates emerge the three most interesting choices:

Francisco Castillo, an executive with a school reform organization who advocates education choices for parents;

Sarah Kirby-Gonzalez, who teaches in an outside district and speaks the language of school curriculum; and

Linh Nguyen, who brings a unique analytic approach to problem-solving, possibly learned during his experiences in business and science.

Any of these three would be a good bet on the board.

The teacher Kirby-Gonzalez, however, is the candidate who has shown the best grasp of public school issues and the closest understanding of what, exactly, a school board member really does.

SARAH KIRBY--GONZALEZ: Teaches in Folsom-Cordova District (News-Ledger photo)

SARAH KIRBY–GONZALEZ: Teaches in Folsom-Cordova District (News-Ledger photo)

It would be interesting to see what Nguyen or Castillo would do on the board (and we may well see one of them elected next week). But Kirby-Gonzalez has thus far shown the best set of qualifications for the job. From the evidence at hand, she’s the top choice.

____________________

You can see the News-Ledger’s interviews of each candidate at the links below. These interviews are made possible by the News-Ledger’s subscribers and its advertisers:

Francisco Castillo

Katherine Gales

Sarah Kirby-Gonzalez

Linh Nguyen

          Nicholas Turney

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Copyright News-Ledger 2013

EDITORIAL: $50 may buy a young child some college dreams

NEWS-LEDGER EDITORIAL — FEB 13, 2013 —

What can we all do to help West Sacramento’s schools?

Well, one of the top strategic goals now being put forward by the local school board is to “foster a culture of high expectations.” And that is something that the City of West Sacramento, and the rest of us, can all help with.

For inspiration, consider this:

About 500 students graduate every year from the high school in Kalamazoo, Michigan. And each of them does so knowing that unknown donors have pledged to pay their full college tuition in the state’s public college and university system. The “Kalamazoo Promise” was announced in 2005, and it was intended not only to help local kids, but also to help the local economy.

[adrotate group=”7″]  Students who enter the local school district part-way through their education get partial assistance, and those who are in it for the entire ride get the full “Promise.”  Knowing that their kids must stay in local public schools to qualify, families have an incentive to stay put in Kalamazoo. The city is meant to benefit from its ability to attract and retain families.

Announcement of the new program was greeted with celebration and also a degree of skepticism – how could somebody really be willing to pay for every local kid’s college education? But reality has set in, and the kids and their families are now starting to develop college expectations from a student’s early grades.

Local teachers and schools bought into the ambitious program, adding instructional hours and increasing college prep.

Too ambitious and expensive for your tastes? There are plenty of other college fund programs to look at.

Among them are those created by the City and County of San Francisco as well as the County of Cuyahoga, Ohio. These locales are going about the same thing, but on a much smaller scale.

Cuyahoga expects to spend $2 million a year putting $100 into a college fund for every new kindergartner. The funds can be redeemed by graduates towards college or vocational training.

The City and County of San Francisco are chipping in with the first $50 contribution to a college fund for every one of its new kindergartners. (For information, see http://www.k2csf.org/)

These smaller funds, even with compounding interest, may never pay for a big chunk of a student’s college education. But the accounts can be supplemented over the years with other donations from friends, family and a student’s own savings. And they’re not just about the money; they’re about the idea of going to college.

Just the existence of a college fund in a student’s name, even if it’s a modest one, can help  shape the expectations of a family and its kids. A family that may not have expected to send its child to college might begin to raise its sights.

West Sacramento is a city of challenging demographics, like Kalamazoo and San Francisco. Not every kid now going to school here believes that college or other higher education are realistic options. Funding a college account for each young child would be one way to chip away at that kind of defeatism.

A college fund program in West Sacramento need not rely on the cash-strapped Washington Unified School District for dollars. The program could be a partnership, using funds cobbled together from the city and from private donors to help. After all, encouraging kids to stay in local schools and then go to state colleges and universities (like the local Sac City College branch) would be good for West Sacramento’s economy.

It’s one way the whole city can help the local school district “foster a culture of higher expectations.”

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Copyright News-Ledger 2013

Southport’s beaver problem: better to manage the animals than to kill them

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — FEB 20, 2013 —

EDITOR’S NOTE: On Feb. 13, the News-Ledger published a story about city-sponsored trapping of a beaver colony discovered in Southport’s Bridgeway Lakes area. You can find the original article here. Below is a response.

The author, Heidi Perryman, Ph.D. (courtesy photo)

The author, Heidi Perryman, Ph.D. (courtesy photo)

By Heidi Perryman, Ph.D.

Trapping, as you know, is a short-term solution that will need to be repeated again and again when new beavers return to the area. It almost always makes more sense to keep the beavers you have, solve any problems they are causing directly, and let them use their naturally territorial behaviors to keep others away.

Protecting trees is an easy fix. Wrap them  in a cylinder of galvanized fencing, leaving enough space for the tree to grow. Or try the less obtrusive abrasive painting. Paint the trunks with a latex paint that matches the color of the bark, adding heavy mason sand. Beavers dislike the gritty texture and will not chew.

[adrotate group=”10″] Remember that beaver-chewed trees will ‘coppice’ which is an old forestry term referring to hard cutting back a tree so that it grows in bushy and more dense. This is why beavers are so important to the population of migratory and songbirds – their chewing creates prime nesting real estate for a host of bird life. Willow is very fast-growing and if the stumps are left in the ground they will replenish quickly.

Why should a city learn to tolerate beavers? They are a keystone species that create a dramatic impact on the spaces they cultivate – even urban and suburban spaces. Here in Martinez we have documented several new species of birds and fish since they colonized our creek, as well as otter and mink! In addition, beavers are considered a ‘charismatic species’ which means that children love to learn about them and they provide a great educational tool for teaching about habitat, ecosystems and stewardship. Why not involve the local Boy Scout troop in planting willow shoots every spring?

Take Amtrak to our sixth beaver festival this summer and see it all for yourself!

  The author is president and founder of “Worth a Dam,” whose organization can be seen at www.matinezbeavers.org.

  Do you like what you see here?

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  You can even try it for free for two months if you live in West Sacramento. Just send your name and mailing address to FreeTrial@news-ledger.com (offer open to new subscribers in West Sacramento ZIP codes 95691 & 95605).

Copyright News-Ledger 2013